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January 2011

Book Design - What Size Should I Make My Book?

By guest author Karrie Ross.

"What size should I make my book?" This is a question I am often asked. Usually the book size depends on the type of book you are writing - not just whether it is fiction or nonfiction, but what the subject matter and distribution is as well. And although there are some general rules you may want to follow, there can be exceptions to these rules for anyone seeking a unique looking book.

Here are some of the most common book sizes and use:

Trade paperbacks books: Most fiction and nonfiction, self-published books fall in the trade paperbacks range. Typical book sizes are 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches and 6 by 9 inches. Business books and textbooks can be up to 7 by 10 inches for best display of content.

Mass market books: These are books sold off book racks at a variety of retail stores and areas where they can be considered an impulse buy. Things such as romance novels, etc. Common size is 4 1/4 by 7 inches.

Manuals and workbooks: Usually produced in large sizes of 8 by 10 inches to 8 1/2 by 11 inches, and can be either color or black and white interiors with a variety of binding options. (Note: Plastic coil binding is a popular choice so that the workbooks will lie flat and allow for easier note taking.)

Novels: The most popular sizes are 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches and 5 1/4 by 8 inches in either a hard or soft cover (perfect bound) binding.

Perhaps the best tip to follow is: Be sure to visit your local bookstore and check out your book's category to see what sizes the competition is using and what the most common book sizes are.

[Karrie Ross is a nationally-recognized book designer and can be found at Be It Now! Karrie Ross.]

Five Reasons Why Blogging Is A Must-Do For Self-Published Authors

By guest author Jake Olvido.

Blogging is indeed a necessary strategy for an effective book marketing campaign. It has changed the way ideas and opinions are shared and provides a multi-channel of information dissemination. A survey published in the 2009 State of the Blogosphere by Technorati showed the significance of blogging towards building relationships between writers and readers. Here are some interesting figures:

  • 77% of Internet users read blogs.
  • 56% say that their blog has helped their company establish a positioning as a thought leader with their industry.
  • 58% say that they are better known in their industry because of their blog.

Here are five great reasons why self-published authors should have and maintain a blog.

1. Establish an author/writer reputation. Blogging lets you share as much as you want. It's an opportunity to grow and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.

2. Unlimited reader communication. Writing blog entries regularly, helps you communicate with your readers. Blogging allows for two-way communication since your site should enable visitors to leave inquiries and post comments regarding your entries.

3. Convenience and accessibility. Through blogging, you can provide 24/7 access to your reading material. It's easy for your readers to reach you.

4. Provides cost-free information. Readers undeniably appreciate free information, especially when it is beneficial. Blogging helps you draw in a bigger market. Interesting and helpful artcles will help gain you more site visitors everyday.

5. Seach engines love blogs. Website traffic and high page ranking is crucial when you are doing online marketing. Blogs often rank higher on search engines, especially if their content is worthy and relevant to common search queries.

Blogging can create a great opportunity for generating revenue and is a recommended medium of communication if you are on a tight marketing budget. Plus it is easy to get started. Most blogging software has an assortment of design templates to choose from, allows you to create and post blog entries in minutes, and often has a built-in management system.

If you have not already done so, including a blog in your book marketing efforts could be a great move.

[Jake Olvido is a book marketing specialist and can be contacted at Bookwhirl.com.]






The Number One Rule In Finding the Right Book Publisher

The key to finding the right book publisher is simple: Do your homework. Sounds pretty straightforward doesn't it. Yet very few writers do it.  Your goal should be to match your manuscript to the publisher. And here's why.

Better publishers specialize in one or two niche markets. They know their subjects, want to know about all the books in their subject area and do not have to send a manuscript out to a reader to have it evaluated. The also  know how to reach potential buyers and can jump-start sales of a book by plugging it into their existing distribution systems including specialty shops, associations and events.

We've all heard about the author who was turned down by 34 publishers before being "discovered." Chances are that the author was turned down for sending his or her manuscript off unsolicited.

Remember, some publishers receive more than a hundred manuscripts per day. They often hire someone who is instructed to return the package many times without opening it. What some authors may not know is that they are being rejected without being read! However, here's how to get started.

To identify those specialized publishers in your niche, first visit a couple of larger bookstores. Check the shelf where you believe your book would be and look for books as close to yours as possible and note the publishers. Then consult with Books In Print, a great reference listing all the books that are currently for sale, including publisher information. There you can find the publishers' telephone numbers and addresses.

Establishing a relationship with the right publisher will take perserverance. But by matching your manuscript to a publisher's strengths, you will have a better chance of  making the connection.

[The above post was created from excerpts from Successful Nonfiction, written by Dan Poynter.]

What Binding Option Is The Best Choice For Your Book?

One of the major decisions in book production is selecting the appropriate book binding. Should it be hard cover, soft cover, saddle stitched (stapled), plastic coil? There are many styles to choose from. Here, however, are some factors that may help you make this decision.

First of all, think about how the book will be used. If it is a sourcebook that readers will be in and out of many times, hard cover (also referred to as cloth or case-bound) is a more durable choice. A collection of photographs designed as a coffee-table photo book should definitely be hard cover. And if you seek to impress a book reviewer, you make want to stick with a hard cover book.

Soft cover, also called  a paperback, uses a perfect or adhesive binding method, and is another option. In this process, the pages are run through hot adhesive, then affixed to the cover. Soft cover is frequently used because it creates a spine surface area and is the least expensive of quality bindings. It is also becoming acceptable in most places today. For example, while libraries have traditionally perferred hard covers, they are becoming more accepting of paperbacks. And now, even the educational markets have started preferring soft covers in an effort to keep book prices down.

Do you need a book that lies flat? Using a plastic coil binding can be ideal for cookbooks and workbooks where people will be writing or taking notes on the actual book pages. In most instance, a plastic coil bind will cost slightly more that a soft cover.

Another option is saddle-stitching. This horsey-sounding term simply means to staple two or three times where the fold is located. Saddle-stitching should not be used for a book of more than ninety-six pages. And one disadvantage of this option is that your book won't have a spine when it is  placed in a bookshelf.

Before you finalize your book binding decisiion, it may be smart to take a look at how other books that are similar to yours in subject matter and size are bound. A visit to a local bookstore may provide you with just the answers you need  to help you solve any book binding dilemma.

[This post was created from excerpts from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]




How Much Time Should You Devote to Promoting Your Book? Some Great Tips to Follow

By guest author Dana Lynn Smith

There is no right answer to this question. In a recent survey I did, 47 percent of the respondents said they spend five to 15 hours per week on book promotion, while 32 percent spend less than five hours. Ten percent devote 22 or more hours per week.

The keys to book promotion success are three-fold:

  1. Create a solid book marketing plan.
  2. Set aside time every day to promote your book.
  3. Make the most out of the time that you have available.

Here are some great tips for getting the most book promotion benefit for your time investment.

Prioritize your book promotion tasks. Determine which tasks have the highest potential return and then set daily, weekly and monthly promotional goals.

Schedule time. Decide how many hours per week you can spend promoting your book and block out time on your calendar every day.

Divide and conquer. Break down large projects, like designing your website, into smaller tasks. Then schedule specific times for getting those tasks completed.

Group similar tasks into batches. For example, write several articles at one time, read your email just once or twice daily, and block out half a day to send out review copies.

Spend a day getting organized. Set up folders to store computer files and emails. Use 3-ring binders to keep information readily available. Create automatic backups for your computer. Make a list of all your websites, user names and passwords. Create a database of all your contacts.

And finally, don't become overwhelmed by the myriad of opportunities that can exist for promoting your book. Success will come by developing a plan, getting organized, prioritizing your tasks and then implementing them one at a time.

[Dana Lynn Smith is a nationally recognized book marketing coach and author of The Savvy Book Marketing Guide.]